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Reflections on a Decade of Weight/Health Maintenance

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The start of the year always brings reflections on health, gratitudes, goals, and ambitions for me. As I was thinking about the last decade, I started digging through old blog posts I made about 9-10 years ago. I remember feeling really focused after I lost weight in 2010, and felt like I had two years of experimentation before settling into what felt like a consistent “lifestyle” of wellness. I dabbled in several variations of what healthy-maintenance would be, as I was also learning about dietary theories in my health coaching program through Integrative Nutrition. Eventually, I found plant-based eating to be the most conducive to health - physically, mentally, and ethically - for me in this journey, and made the transition in 2012.

Since reviving my career as a health coach in 2019, I’ve had a lot of self-doubt. Am I healthy enough, inspiring enough, knowledgeable enough, fit enough (insert ___ “enough” here) to be a health coach and help other people figure this stuff out? While I am truly most passionate about the “lifestyle” coaching part of health coaching, I found a place within the weight-loss industry, which has plenty of pros and cons, particularly for someone as goal-oriented as myself. At VitaLife, we utilize BIA technology to determine body composition, and help clients see measurable progress in their bodies and health. The downside to this being available for me each day is that I can attach a lot of needless-significance on what the damn thing says about ME… and then start to splice apart my insecurities and feelings of “enough-ness” over and over again if the numbers don’t reflect what I think they should for my profession.

My mental health journey is in constant evolution of self-awareness and processing, and a big part of that is writing and discussing these things with people close to me. Over the last few months, I’ve felt frustrated that in spite of all my consistent efforts with my health, I haven’t seen the gratification I wanted (and felt was “deserved”) from the very technology I utilize and celebrate for others each day. And just recently, it has started to become more clear after a conversation with a fellow health-coach co-worker...

… I have been wanting the buzz and affirmation that comes from the *weight-loss and transition journey* even as I’m in active *maintenance* of a healthy lifestyle. It’s almost like wishing I could learn to swim across a pool, while actively swimming across the ocean.

My job as a coach is to model healthy lifestyle behaviors, and actively guide people through the process of transitioning into their version of a healthy lifestyle. It’s funny looking at it a different way, because the part I crave (validation and buzz of change during weight-loss) is what they are experiencing, while my clients crave what I have (the consistency and routine of maintaining a healthy body through a flexible diet and lifestyle).

Looking back on my posts from 2012, I found the following that I wanted to share again. I’m pleased to say that although there are some differences from then to now, I really have found a pretty solid balance in what my ‘healthy lifestyle’ looks like, and maintained it for close to a decade.

June 16, 2012: SparkPeople Blog post

After I crashed and burned from three months of attempting the healthy-lifestyle routine above* [earlier in the blog], I quit the gym. I was so exhausted and burnt out from the amount of time I felt I “had” to spend there, and was so sick of egg whites and chicken breasts that I pretty much loafed around for a couple months. I went on a meat-hiatus (simply because I was so sick of it, and felt heavy and lethargic and ethically bothered by the quantity I had been eating), and gradually found myself not wanting it or cooking it again. It felt good! I was more at peace in my mind and body without meat as a part of my diet, and decided to “go vegetarian” near the start of 2012. Though I was feeling better with my diet, I still felt some lethargy from not working out as often, and not wanting to either. So, I dove back in to exploring my yoga practice, which had suffered dramatically with so much gym time, and found myself enjoying a daily practice of 10 minutes, with weekend Bikram yoga classes.

Since this transition, I feel like I’m truly coming into my healthy balance. A great deal of my life still feels chaotic at times, but I’m finding as I make better, more peaceful and less obsessive choices with my food and fitness, the chaos is easier to tame and manage. Here is what my healthy balance looks like today:

• I eat 90% plant-based (vegan), with occasional dairy or eggs (ice cream is my biggest weakness, and cheese is sometimes a “necessity” in social dining out, like having pizza with my family)
• I exercise 3-4 times per week by running, yoga classes, walking, or home DVDs
• I walk daily between 15-30 minutes, usually on work breaks
• I drink tons of water (upwards of 100-115 ounces per day), and always start my days with 24 oz. of water before breakfast or other beverages
• I get 7-8 hours of sleep every night, go to bed by 10 pm, and up between 5-6 am
• I cook all whole foods in my home, and eat out a few times per week
• I have a green smoothie nearly every weekday for breakfast and a slice of toast with nut-butter
• I don’t snack nearly as often as I used to
• I take vitamins daily (multi, flax-oil, folic acid, and calcium)
• I don’t drink pop. Ever.
• I cut out my coffee habit, and no longer use caffeine in the mornings to wake me up; I will have green tea or coffee occasionally for a treat
• I eat a ton of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole foods daily
• I buy and eat almost entirely organic
• I try to eat mindfully without distraction, but still sometimes give in to watching TV during dinner ;)
• I enjoy treats daily, but no longer use white flour or sugar in my kitchen
• I have a ton of energy (usually) and stay busy daily
• I am strong and flexible: I can run long distances (although I’m not fast), I can do 50 push-ups in a row, and I can hold arm and toe-balance poses in my yoga practice, do forward bends, and move in ways I never used to be able
• I do not have a six-pack or defined abs
• My thighs jiggle, I have cellulite and stretch marks on my legs and butt, and my tummy still looks soft and mooshy when I sit down
* I eat lots of dark leafy greens DAILY
* I wear a size 4/6 pants (sometimes an 8 in certain brands or styles) and small/medium tops
* I weigh around 148 pounds (I am 5'10")
• I am not perfect, but I am healthy and happy

January 14, 2021: Update

Here is what my healthy balance looks like today:

• I eat 95-98% plant-based (vegan), with very rare dairy or eggs (generally in a baked good or dish while dining out; I’m not perfect but aim for mostly plants)
• I exercise 5-6 times per week by gym HIIT workouts, home HIIT with BodyFit app, running, walking
• I try to walk daily, either taking the dog for a mile walk, or just stepping on the treadmill for 15 min.
• I drink tons of water (upwards of 100-115 ounces per day), and always start my days with a fizzy water (molecular hydrogen) and mineral water
• I get 7-8 hours of sleep almost every night
• I cook all whole foods in my home, and eat out a few times per week
• I have a green smoothie nearly every weekday for breakfast or my first meal of the day (I usually don’t eat until 11:00-12:00 pm)
• I snack very rarely (working on cutting out bedtime/TV snacking- my only pitfall with snacks)
• I take vitamins daily (probiotic, magnesium, vitamin C, cranberry, vegan DHA, vitamin D)
• I don’t drink pop. (hardly ever)
• I eat a ton of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains daily
• I enjoy treats daily, but rarely make things with lots of sugar (I only use organic cane sugar if any - and often use monk fruit sweetener or stevia)
• I have a ton of energy (usually) and stay busy daily
• I am strong and flexible: I can run long distances (although I’m not fast), I can do 50 burpees in a row, and I can hold arm and toe-balance poses in my yoga practice, do forward bends, and move in ways I never used to be able. I can do a headstand, and am working on my handstand practice. I have more metabolic cardiovascular health than ever before.
• I do not have a six-pack or defined abs, and still have a sheath of fat on my tummy + stretch marks.
• My thighs jiggle, I have cellulite and stretch marks on my legs and butt, and my tummy still looks soft and mooshy when I sit down
* I eat lots of dark leafy greens DAILY
* I wear a size 6/8 pants and small/medium tops
* I weigh around 155 pounds (I am 5'10")


I am not perfect, but I am healthy and happy.

Here is hoping you feel healthy and happy too.
-Whitney :-)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • WATERMELLEN
    What a great blog!! As another long-term maintainer, I find it so helpful to read about how others achieve the balance that works best for them!! Not just physical but mental/emotional/spiritual -- so gracefully accepting that "enoughness" challenge too!
    43 days ago
  • MARTHA324
    Always great to hear from long term maintainers.
    43 days ago
  • JANIEWWJD
    I was so good to hear from you!!! emoticon You are doing an awesome job, and what's more important is that you're healthy and happy!!!! emoticon Keep doing what you're doing and please stay safe in this crazy time we're living in at the moment!!!! emoticon
    145 days ago
  • JIACOLO
    You have done an amazing job!
    148 days ago
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